The desire to achieve work-life balance is one we all share. Some are more successful at it than others.
One of the reasons it eludes us is that work plays an important part in all our lives. It provides us with purpose, challenge, and an occupation. Furthermore, it puts bread on the table.
We all want to do good work and everyone I know stays beyond their contracted hours to get the job done. I’ve heard many an apology made to family for missing their child’s latest performance. I’ve yet to hear anyone roll into work late declaring “Sorry about that, I had to finish the decorating!”
Once (and only once) I worked alongside a colleague who prioritised her personal life over the business. I occasionally marvelled at how adept she was at it. But mostly I reflected that her ‘life-work’ emphasis was no better than my ‘work-life’ focus. Neither was balanced and someone (me) or something (the business) suffered in each case.
Perhaps. People tend to regret what they haven’t done with their life rather than what they have. So, I don’t go to bed wishing that I hadn’t logged off at eight. I always feel pleased at a job completed or at least progressed. Nevertheless, I might bemoan the things I would like to have done with the time available.
Then again, if those other activities were important enough we would find the time to engage, would we not?
The measure here is to check on your energy levels. Consider how juiced you feel whilst putting in the hard yards. If you’re exhausted by five, and plough on under duress, then your balance is clearly out of whack!
At this point, continuing to sit at your desk shuffling papers is a waste of your precious time. Instead, take the opportunity to put the ‘life’ back into your work-life balance. Go for a run (or whatever you do to clear your head). Then resume your duties feeling revitalised and refreshed.